Debt Settlement Programs: Four Steps Every Applicant Must Consider

Thursday, August 14, 2014
It might seem that a debt settlement program is the solution that can save your financial future. Technically this is true, but it is essential to choose the right program if any real benefits are to be enjoyed. The problem is that pressures from creditors can rush us into choosing the wrong program from unscrupulous lenders.

The setup of the financial services sector is anything but clear-cut, and the largest firms and institutions actually own many of the smaller services. This means the debt to a single bank (like Citibank, for example) can be much greater than thought.

And while choosing debt relief is the wise decision, it is important to keep in mind the difficulties in securing good terms when the debt to a creditor is very high. Still, there are many debt settlement options available online.

The Debt Network

It is important to realize just how interconnected so many of your branded credit and debit cards, and utilities are. Many are simply branches of the same bank or financial institution. This means that debt owed to a bank may be vastly larger than first thought, making it difficult to get good terms on your debt settlement program.

Not everyone knows that three of the biggest banks in the US are also involved in many of the largest utilities companies. For example, Citibank owns AT&T Universal, Sears and most of the gas cards on offer (Chevron, Exxon etc). Discovery, meanwhile, owns Lowes & Sams cards, and the FIA cards are owned by Bank of America.

What this all means is that when it comes to choosing debt relief options, it is important to realize that more than a single credit card debt is part of the packet. The card provider will add on everything, making it possible for the debt settlement deal to be rejected by the lender.

Avoiding the Online Trap

Financial services provided over the Internet need to be carefully considered before committing to anything. There are, unfortunately, many unscrupulous lenders and financial service providers who are willing to take advantage of consumers, and excellent debt settlement programs can turn out to be traps.

But there are steps that can be taken to ensure such traps are avoided. They are:.

1. Only Trust Lenders Who Ask For Statements

There is a tendency for unscrupulous lenders to talk up their fantastic offers in an effort to get what they need as quickly as possible. Often, they do not even look for bank statements or confirmation of financial status. But the right debt settlement plan depends on your specific situation. So, avoid those that do not seek relevant documentation.

2. Experience Is Essential

It is generally not a good idea to choose a debt settlement program from a lending firm that has been in businesses of less than 5 years. Experience is essential in this sector, so the last firm needed to manage your finances is a start-up company. Settle for a firm that is at least 5 years old.

3. Always Check Lenders Out

It is completely foolish to trust any online lender on face value. Always take the time to check on their credentials, and feel completely comfortable before choosing a debt relief program. So, check out their BBB Reliability Report and know whether consumers have been complaining about a prospective lender.

4. Seek Out A Licensed Attorney Based Firm

Attornies are governed by the BAR Association, not the FTC. The advantage is the consistency of the BAR Association, whereas the FTC regulation changes can play havoc with schedules and plans. Also, the BAR Association insists on extremely high standards so debt settlement companies can be relied upon.